In 2007, the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) launched its Young Hispanic Corporate Achiever’s program to highlight the achievements of young Latino professionals in corporate America. The program also serves to further the association’s mission of increasing Hispanic representation on corporate boards and in the C-suite. Each year, HACR launches a rigorous process to select candidates for a rigorous three-month leadership development, education, and training program focused on corporate diversity, professional leadership advancement and community engagement.
This year, two candidates were selected from P&G to participate in the program. Here they share their experiences and lessons learned during the intensive virtual program and in-person summit. They also discuss how culture plays a significant role in their work and leadership style at P&G.
Israel Escamilla, Senior Manager, Brand Building Purchases
Time at P&G: 10 years.
Why did you choose P&G as a place to work? When I learned about P&G’s purpose, values and principles, which were consistent with those from my upbringing and education, it was a clear choice for me to make. At the end of the day, you know that the company focuses on meaningful work, cares for its people and enables us to be successful together as we carry out the larger vision.
Why did you decide to apply for the YHCA program? A Hispanic leader at P&G, who previously graduated from the HACR YHCA program, reached out to say she wanted to recommend me for the 2022 cohort. I saw that the program included components that were important to me: education from a cultural perspective, a platform to make connections with others who shared similar career trajectories, and an opportunity to expand my knowledge of the various industries across the country. This program was a great opportunity to share and build on the leadership skills I’ve gained at P&G.
What’s one valuable lesson you learned from the program? I learned the value of embracing your personal story. Since this program, I have been able to reflect on the journey that’s gotten me to this chapter in my life and use it to connect with my peers, my leaders and my external business partners. The COVID pandemic was a huge change moment in everyone’s lives, our stories now all look different in some way. I’ve learned to make an intentional effort to acknowledge and really understand how that’s affected my team based on their family stories, their culture and their stages in life, which has helped me to build even deeper and more meaningful partnerships.
What’s one Hispanic value that you feel prepared you for a leadership role at P&G? Growing up as an underprivileged immigrant and the oldest of four children, I had quite the traditional upbringing. Working with my dad on the family farm in Mexico and in his concrete pouring business in Texas, I was able to watch him live a servant leadership life as the provider and the protector of the family. I learned to ask myself, “How can I serve with my time and with the resources I do have? How can I help my community advance?” Bringing this mindset focused on adding value and building genuine relationships and networks has enabled me to achieve meaningful goals for the company.
What work at P&G are you most proud of? My key project during the COVID-19 pandemic was P&G’s Safeguard America campaign, where I led the purchasing work for our hand sanitizer business. Getting to work on a product that was critical at the time and to see how important it was for the company, the world and the people we serve was a highly rewarding experience.
How do you like to spend your time when you’re not working? Building meaningful relationships with great people is something I deeply care about. In the winter, my fiancé and I enjoy traveling across the country doing ski trips with our friends. Any other time of the year, we love hosting people in our home and playing golf. I lead a young professional’s golf league of men and women from various companies, industries and backgrounds in the Cincinnati area, which gives me the opportunity to be surrounded by amazing people while doing something challenging and fun. I also serve on the board of directors for the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, doing empowering work that I’m very passionate about. It’s an excellent way to represent P&G while serving my city and community.
Saul Meza, Global Flight Operations Pilot – Captain
Time at P&G: 10 years.
How long have you worked at P&G? Four years this upcoming January.
Why did you choose P&G as a place to work? When I was a P&G intern, I traveled a bit. I was fortunate to travel to Africa on one of those trips and spent a day in Tanzania. We met with a local tribe who received access to P&G PUR water packets, which turn unthinkably dirty water into purified clean drinking water. I witnessed first-hand the unmistakable impact of P&G innovation not for market share or profit, but simply to help improve the lives of others. It left quite the impression.
Why did you decide to apply for the YHCA program? Last year I was privileged enough to work with a P&G Hispanic leader who was a previous HACR YHCAer. She was excited to share the opportunity with others in our P&G Latinx community. After researching the program, I knew the combination of professional development, networking and personal growth opportunities was too good to pass up.
What’s one valuable lesson you learned from the program? The program reminded me of something I heard a lot as a Mexican boy growing up in “La Villita” (Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood): when you find yourself in the elevator moving up, don’t ever forget to send the elevator back down. Each one of us individually holds a unique story that’s made even greater and more powerful by our collective Latinx history, which is filled with heroes from all walks of life. By finding ways to mentor, guide and advocate for others in nuestra familia, we add to our Latinx legacy both inside and out of P&G.
What’s one Hispanic value that you feel prepared you for a leadership role at P&G?
There’s a saying in Spanish – Donde come uno, comen dos (where one person eats, so does a second). Selflessness is engrained in the fabric of our Latinidad. We’re always looking for ways to help others and help place them in a positions that can lead to success.
What work at P&G are you most proud of?
I head our Equality and Inclusion efforts at Global Flight Operations. With only 10% of all professional pilots listed as minorities, and women making up only 8% of the pilot workforce, it’s clear to me that something needs to change. It can be as simple as wearing a uniform to schools in an effort to show minority students it’s possible to have a career in aviation. Or it can be more complex, like mentoring an aspiring aviator through a complicated industry. I am proud to lead a team that looks to empower underrepresented groups in aviation.
How do you like to spend your time when you’re not working? I have an incredible wife and two beautiful, high-energy toddlers. Much of our time now orbits around them and keeping them as engaged as possible. Naturally, I’m passionate about travel, but more so exposing my children to the vast communities of colorful, unique and beautiful people all over the world.